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Accuracy and Bias in Adolescents' Perceptions of Friends' Substance Use

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Title: Accuracy and Bias in Adolescents' Perceptions of Friends' Substance Use
Author(s): Henry, David B.; Kobus, Kimberly; Schoeny, Michael E.
Subject(s): Adolescence Substance Use Peer Relationships Accuracy and Bias False Consensus Effect
Abstract: This study tested competing hypotheses related to the false consensus effect and pluralistic ignorance by examining the accuracy and bias of adolescents’ perceptions of peer substance use, and the effects of their own substance use, gender, and age on perceptions of peer behavior. Two samples (Ns = 163 and 2,194) that collected data on peer nominations, perceptions of peer substance use, and self-reports of substance use were used in analyses. Results from both samples provided evidence supporting the false consensus effect, that is, adolescents’ reports of their friends’ substance use were biased in the direction of their own use. Users and non-users did not differ in accuracy of perceptions; however, across all substances and samples, they differed significantly in bias. Substance users displayed nearly perfect liberal bias, assuming their friends also used substances. Non-users displayed an opposite, conservative bias, assuming their friends did not use substances. Gender and age differences in bias also were observed, with older adolescents and females having more liberal biases than younger adolescents and males. Results suggest the importance of differentiating the effects of actual and perceived peer substance use.
Issue Date: 2011-03
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Citation Info: Henry, D. B., Kobus, K., & Schoeny, M. E. 2011. Accuracy and Bias in Adolescents' Perceptions of Friends' Substance Use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(1): 80-89. DOI: 10.1037/a0021874
Type: Article
Description: © 2011 American Psychological Association . This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. The original publication is available at www.apa.org; DOI: 10.1037/a0021874.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10027/7710
ISSN: 0893-164X
Sponsor: This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. This analysis was supported, in part by grant RO1-HD520444 to David B. Henry.
Date Available in INDIGO: 2011-05-27
 

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